8 December 2023 at 2:35 pm
The completion of a new Grid Exit Point (GXP) and zone substation in the Selwyn district will increase central Canterbury’s power capacity by 25 per cent.
The significant once-in-a-generation investment, a partnership between The Orion Group and Transpower, was celebrated today at an official opening event at the site in rural Norwood.
The project, which is Transpower’s first new GXP since 2013, signals the continuing increase in demand for electricity. The investment will also support population growth in the Rolleston and Lincoln areas.
“Growth in our region is trending at the high end of Stats NZ’s predictions, and in fact Selwyn district was the second fastest growing district in the country for 2023. Christchurch is also showing growth for the first time since the pandemic,” says The Orion Group Chief Executive Nigel Barbour.
“Projects like the Norwood GXP will go a long way in ensuring we can meet the future demand for electricity head on, at the lowest cost to our community.”
Transpower’s General Manager Grid Development John Clarke says the Norwood GXP is the first of a number of new grid connections planned for New Zealand’s electricity transmission network.
“We expect electricity demand to ramp up significantly as a result of underlying population growth and as more New Zealanders use electricity for transport and industrial processes,” he says.
“The work we have done with Orion to deliver the Norwood GXP will ensure homes and businesses in central Canterbury can move ahead with confidence as they electrify the way they live and work. Our collaboration in delivering the work has been excellent.”
Mr Clarke said two more GXPs are currently in delivery to provide more power in Cambridge and Taupō. A further seven potential GXPs are in investigation or awaiting investigation across the country, bringing a total capacity of 1560 MW, noting not all of these may proceed.
“That’s the equivalent of adding capacity of about three times Christchurch’s average winter peak power use into New Zealand’s local electricity distribution networks,” he says.
“Projects like these GXPs complement the work happening across the electricity industry to connect new generation and upgrade networks so New Zealanders continue to receive a reliable, resilient electricity supply.”
Work began late last year on the 13-hectare site in Norwood. Construction was completed efficiently, and the site was successfully commissioned in late October.
“If you consider that this site was farmland this time last year, it’s a testament to the mahi that’s gone into the project, both from our team and Transpower. It’s a fantastic example of collaboration in action,” says Nigel.
The new GXP will increase Orion’s ability to draw power from the national grid by 200MW. This adds significant capacity to the two major 220kV-66kV GXPs already in Orion’s network.
Pictured left to right: Nigel Barbour, The Orion Group Chief Executive; John Clarke, Transpower's General Manager Grid Development and Paul Munro, The Orion Group Board Chair